Holding space. It’s a love language for me. It’s an honor to hold space for those I love, and to have them hold space for me. Sometimes, though, I forget to actively hold space for myself. Sometimes I forget how important it is to love me.
This is an activity I share with the people I work with sometimes where we use our arms as messengers between the mind and the body. We feel the physical and emotional presence of our self, then we speak words of validation for our experience, or love, or compassion or forgiveness, etc.
Today as I utter the words to myself “this life has been hard” I felt all the ways I was bracing release. I didn’t even realize how much I was holding. It was implicit. The mindset of holding it together, and moving forward physically experienced. As I expressed words of affirmation to my body, my self, I felt like every part of me let go. I felt the body respond to the space I was creating for it to feel, the space where I didn’t have to just keep pushing forward, the space where I could fall apart.
What happens when we walk around everyday holding and bracing? This is what the research on ACEs is really starting to get at. When we have long term stress and lack environments where we can let our guard down the body implicitly reacts, and the consequences are many. Autoimmune disorders, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and the list goes on. General rates of morbidity are higher in those who have had these experiences BECAUSE the body is connected to the experience.
The good news is we can learn to feel these physical manifestations and interact with them. The body can learn to let go, we can bridge the explicit and implicit with trauma informed mindfulness practices. We are learning so much everyday about how resiliency works and these skills are big factors. Someday soon I want these skills to be as accessible as the prevalence of ACEs demands.
For today; if you were going to send messages of validation to your body, what would you say? Can you place your hand on your physical body and feel how your body responds to that message? - 1 hour ago